Ireland seal streak with stunning 32-22 win over All Blacks

: Brave Ireland withstood an All Blacks fightback to claim a famous 32-22 victory in Wellington on Saturday and seal the three-Test series 2-1 with an irresistible mix of muscle and inspiration.

Warhorse captain Johnny Sexton was supreme as the Irish took a 22-3 half-time lead, stunning the hosts with sparkling tries, jaw-dropping tackling and razor-sharp skill.

Proud New Zealand, hauled by raging striker Ardie Savea and high-heeled winger Will Jordan, came within three points on the hour to set up a tense finish.

But substitute prop Rob Herring seized a try from a lineout to stabilize the Irish, and their stone defense held off waves of All Blacks attackers to secure a famous victory.

“We had 4 million people at home, up for breakfast and probably having a few beers, we wanted to make them proud tonight and we certainly did,” Sexton said.

“We were playing against the best in the world, the best, and to come here and do this is very special.”

Ireland will now top the world rankings with a year to go before the World Cup, while defeat to New Zealand, their fourth in five Tests, will put even more pressure on beleaguered coach Ian Foster.

The All Blacks suffered back-to-back defeats at home for the first time in 24 years.

“We’re gutted,” All Blacks captain Sam Cane said.

“We didn’t get the performance we wanted but we can’t take anything away from Ireland. They were too good tonight. Big respect for Ireland, they were classy and they deserved their win tonight.”

The Irish, like in their 23-12 win last week in Dunedin, came out of the blocks and stunned the home side with ferocity and verve.

They were bold from the start, with Sexton fending off an early shot on goal to set up a lineout and flanker Josh van der Flier’s opening try.

Ineffective with the ball in hand, the All Blacks went through the air via the Barrett Brothers’ boots but were kept scoreless for 23 minutes until full-back Jordie overturned a penalty.

Sexton and his outside backs hit back with a brilliant try into the left corner, a no-look pass from winger James Lowe putting a Hugo Keenan in charge.

Sexton’s partnership with center Bundee Aki caused New Zealand headaches, with the former’s quick hands putting the latter through a hole in front of the posts and setting up Robbie Henshaw’s third try three minutes from the break .

All Blacks pride demanded an answer and Savea delivered four minutes after the break, emerging from a collision on the line to score a team rally try.

Irish prop Andrew Porter was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on lock Brodie Retallick, sparking boos from home fans who wanted worse.

Akira Ioane immediately capitalized for the hosts with a 52nd-minute try, beating four defenders on the way to the line.

The All Blacks came back with a brilliant try from Jordan, who sprang from the 22-yard line, darting over 70 yards to land in the right corner and send the home fans into a frenzy.

It looked like the All Blacks were going to claim victory, but Sexton again interfered.

He brushed aside another chance for three runs, backing his forwards to get the job done with another lineup.

Herring broke the maul and slammed the ball down the line.

Sexton nailed the conversion to carve out a 10-point lead which Ireland bravely defended until the siren.

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